How do recipients interact with data journalism?

How do recipients interact with data journalism?

Author: Bernhard Goodwin – Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany

Data journalism is an emerging field in journalism. The data presented is often from the domain of social sciences – e.g. election results, crime, conflicts. economic development. Especially in digital media, there are interactive presentations of data journalism. The present study examines how audiences interact with the given presentation of data, what principles they are following researching the data and what gratifications the results of such reception of social science communication are.

As an example for data journalism reports about migration are used because they offer different kinds of information to the recipients: (1) spatial information about places of origin, destinations and routes, (2) information about numbers of people in different categories, e.g. nationalities, legal status, (3) information of dynamics over time, (4) information about incidents and their frequencies, e.g. crimes against or by migrants.

A mixed-methods-approach is used to research the question how recipients appropriate the data: the interaction of recipients is observed with screen-capturing software, afterwards recipients are interviewed about their individual experience, strategies and gratifications. Additionally they are commenting on their own behaviour, while reviewing the observation (talk aloud protocol).

Different strategies can be devised: (1) following a given narrative in accompanying text, (2) looking for data points with close proximity to self, e.g. hometown, holiday destination, incidents one has witnessed, (3) searching for extreme values, (4) systematically browsing the presentation, (5) randomly browsing the presentation. Different gratification can be found: (1) feeling informed about the situation – though the amount of presented data can have the opposite effect; (2) enjoying aesthetics and mechanics of the interactive presentation.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices